mental health

Heartland Health Monitor

Judy Talbot is trying to get her daughter out of a state facility for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Zack Zbeeb is trying to get his son into one.

But both ultimately have the same goal: to do a “medication washout” to determine whether the prescription drugs their autistic kids take are helping to control their recent dangerous psychotic episodes or actually causing them.

Zbeeb, from Wichita, wants his 15-year-old son to be weaned off his medications at a place like Parsons State Hospital and Training Center.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

A group of community and health leaders held a press conference Wednesday in Wichita to push for lawmakers to expand Kansas’ Medicaid system.

Many of the organizations participating in the meeting, which was hosted by Via Christi Health and held at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in downtown Wichita, have already come out in support of expanding KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid system. Now, they say they need Kansas lawmakers to put the issue on the agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

Phil Cauthon for the KHI News Service

Kansas officials are hoping that a pilot program will help relieve pressure on the Osawatomie State Hospital. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the program will provide “transitional care” to some patients being dismissed from the state’s largest mental health hospital.

Officials at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services say there are several patients at Osawatomie who are no longer a danger to themselves or others but who aren’t ready to live independently.

Subconsci Productions / flickr Creative Commons

A mental health clinic in Wichita is now offering primary health care for its patients.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County’s Comcare is the state’s largest community mental health agency, and has been helping people with mental illness or substance use disorder for more than 50 years.

Comcare expanded its crisis services last year, and created a model of care that officials say is exceeding expectations. Deborah Shaar reports on the agency’s Community Crisis Center.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas mental health providers say funding cuts and stalled contract negotiations with the state are hindering their ability to provide care.

They're sounding the alarm on how Medicaid rate cuts and contract disputes are affecting care.

Sedgwick County’s community mental health program Comcare is working to bring services for substance abuse patients into its Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita.

Renovations to the 24-hour Community Crisis Center on North Main are expected to be complete next week. Then, the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas will move its detox and sobering unit into the building.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The second-in-command at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services told mental health advocates last week that Osawatomie State Hospital is well-prepared going into a high-stakes federal inspection Tuesday.

The Osawatomie hospital is one of two inpatient state facilities for Kansans with severe mental illness. KDADS Secretary Tim Keck visited the other facility in Larned last Wednesday.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Experts from a variety of fields gathered Wednesday at the Kansas Statehouse for a mental health symposium spurred by an Emporia hospital’s struggle last year to find a psychiatric care bed for a suicidal patient.

House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, a Republican from Emporia, said she was inspired to convene the symposium after hearing from officials at Newman Regional Health.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County’s community mental health center Comcare will be getting support for its operations through a partnership with a new nonprofit.